Champions of the Flyway!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring-loaded - Filey, 7th April 2013

Three hundred miles away, directly in the sun and with the camera on all the wrong settings - a Crane is a Crane, and that'll do nicely

Back at base after a hugely enjoyable day in the field, feeling very lucky regarding how recent weeks have panned out. As previously described, from a birding perspective I've been effectively out of action for a month; working and then touring the new record in London and the south & west, a wholly debilitating bout of influenza, and then good friends staying - all the time with absolutely sweet f.a. happening out there in Birdland (thank you gods). This morning, we waved goodbye to our latest guests, I grabbed the (dusty) Leicas and the Canon and jumped on the bike, and as if by magic, migration kicked in.

Red Kite, south over the salty water and en route to Flamborough

News of a freshly-arrived, locally very rare, probably (partially or wholly) plastic female Red Crested Pochard at the Dams was - despite its A-list status (the first since 1978 apparently) - somewhat underwhelming, and I so cycled southbound instead, and pitched up at a favoured high-ground spot on the clifftop, overlooking the bay by the golf course. With the wind dropping and swinging WSW, mist and brightness vying for dominance and a small but significant rise in temperature, I was hoping it'd be enough to trigger some much overdue movement.

Southbound Common Buzzard

It was. I began scanning at 1029, and at 1033, a high, distant, bleached-out, but unmistakably heart-stopping shape circled way up in the ether - unbelievably, a Common Crane, before I'd even had chance to check the settings on the camera or crack open the flask. Happy, happy days. For the next two hours, I grinned inanely at passing dog-walkers while additionally clocking a Red Kite over the bay, plus at least three Common Buzzards, a Common Snipe, a Pintail, numerous Linnets, Tree Sparrows, alba Wags and Yellowhammers and over 360 Meadow Pipits coasting above and beside me, topped off by a cracking male Wheatear on the 18th green, the first here this spring.

A rare, if probably rubber ducky

Pitching up at the Dams after a break for lunch, I was told the RCP had gone. It hadn't, and after a half-hour or so chin-wagging with various visitors, I watched it swim past the hide, giving a cheery wave on its way for a siesta in the reeds. Add on fresh-in Chiffys and Goldcrests, a fall of Blackbirds and various ducks in the bay late on, and it's mighty fine to be back in the ring.